Jackson officials name business administrator

BY JOYCE BLAY Staff Writer

Staff Writer

JACKSON — The Township Committee approved a resolution on Monday appointing Andrew J. Salerno as its new business administrator.

Salerno currently serves as business administrator and director of finance for Hamilton Township, Mercer County, a municipality with a directly elected mayor.

Salerno will succeed current Business Administrator John Kennedy, who has been employed with Jackson since 2001. As did Kennedy, Salerno will serve at the pleasure of the committee with no formal contract, according to Township Clerk Ann Marie Eden.

When asked after Monday’s meeting for further information about Salerno’s background, Committeeman Michael Broderick declined comment and referred questions to Robert Ryley, the aide to the mayor and Township Committee.

Ryley said Tuesday that Salerno would speak with the media this week.

During Monday’s meeting, the committee members discussed the procedure by which they arrived at their decision.

According to Broderick, who was a member of the subcommittee search team, Salerno had not yet been offered the job nor had he accepted it prior to passage of the resolution approving his appointment.

The four majority Democratic committee members voted to approve the resolution, which states that Salerno will begin his employment in Jackson on Oct. 12 at a salary of $115,000.

Republican Committeeman Josh Reilly voted not to approve the appointment.

Salerno was not available Tuesday to say if he would accept the committee’s offer or whether such an offer had been made.

Broderick said during the meeting that Salerno seemed to him to be the best candidate for the job.

Reilly distributed to reporters an e-mail provided to him by an unspecified source.

In the e-mail, which was sent by Ryley, he wrote that Director of Personnel Aixa Aklan had polled the four Democratic committee members and established a consensus of approval for Salerno. He also said that based on that poll, she had proceeded with a background check on Salerno with Ryley’s knowledge.

Ryley concluded his e-mail by writing that he did not want a credible allegation of a Sunshine Law violation as a result of any possible infractions of the hiring process.

Reilly told reporters he had already filed a complaint with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office citing a possible violation of the Sunshine Law, which other committee members and Ryley denied at Monday’s meeting.

Reilly told the media that he had also obtained a copy of the resolution with Salerno’s name already on it prior to the full committee’s executive session at a publicly noticed meeting to decide whether or not to hire anybody.

Ryley addressed the committee and said that 14 candidates had applied for the position.

Mayor Sean Giblin said that subcommittee members Broderick and Committeeman Michael Kafton had recommended four finalists, which was later narrowed to two candidates. One dropped out of consideration for the job, leaving Salerno as the only candidate to be interviewed by the full committee in executive session of a publicly advertised meeting, according to comments made by committeemen during Monday night’s meeting.